Ed Sheeran – + (Vinyl, CD, Streaming)

Notation/Rating/Samples:

Ed1: + . Vinyl  label ASYLUM ref : 5052498774906 , 2011.

This is a good quality vinyl, with correct dynamics and precise highs. This is audible with Ed Sheeran’s guitar playing. From this point of view, the listening is more precise than the CD.
However, the sides are very long, with more than 24 minutes.
This impacts the level of the vinyl which is 6 dB lower than other vinyls. This indirectly impacts the surface noise which is correct, but not in the best ones.
For the following albums, the problem was solved by using two discs.

  • Rating :
    • Dynamic: ●●●●o (4/5)
    • Bandwidth: ●●●●o (4/5)
    • Surface noise: ●●●oo (3/5)
    • Restitution: ●●●●o (4/5)
  • 3 samples : “Smal Bump” (Sample1) ,”Give Me Love” (Sample 2) and “U.N.I.” (Sample 3) 24 bits 176.4kHz:
Sample 1_Ed Sheeran +_Ed1*
Sample 2_Ed Sheeran +_Ed1*
Sample 3_Ed Sheeran +_Ed1*
 Ed2 : + . CD Deluxe ASYLUM ref : 5052498646555, 2011.

The CD is more compressed than vinyl, but fortunately the compression doesn’t go below a DR10 on average.
Less precise on the rendering, especially on the guitar, it brings the quality of the CD with the silence on the lowest levels.

  • Rating:
    • Dynamic: ●●●oo (3/5)
    • Bandwidth: ●●●●o (4/5)
    • Restitution: ●●●oo (3.5/5)
  • 3 samples : “Smal Bump” (Sample1) ,”Give Me Love” (Sample 2) and “U.N.I.” (Sample 3) 16 bits 44.1kHz.
Sample 1_Ed Sheeran +_Ed2*
Sample 2_Ed Sheeran +_Ed2*
Sample 3_Ed Sheeran +_Ed2*
 Ed3 : Streaming HD Album, Stereo, 16bit 44.1kHz, 2011.

The Streaming is not compressed like CD, it is more precise on the rendering, especially on the guitar. In comparison with vinyl, we find the same balance but with a more natural rendering of the vinyl for the guitar. On the other hand, there is no background noise, and this version has a little more precise bass

  • Rating:
    • Dynamic: ●●●●o (4/5)
    • Bandwidth: ●●●●o (4/5)
    • Restitution: ●●●●o (4/5)
  • 3 samples : “Smal Bump” (Sample1) ,”Give Me Love” (Sample 2) and “U.N.I.” (Sample 3) 16 bits 44.1kHz.
Sample 1_Ed Sheeran +_Ed3*
Sample 2_Ed Sheeran +_Ed3*
Sample 3_Ed Sheeran +_Ed3*

Which version to choose ?
For the best rendering, without any doubt, it is not the CD version. So you have to choose between the Vinyl or Streaming version. The streaming version is technically perfect, without the surface noise of vinyl. But the vinyl provides a more pleasant rendering of the guitar and the Streaming version has a little more precise bass. After that, it’s a personal choice, you can make your own idea by listening to the samples.

Updated the 03/28/2021 with Streaming edition

*The level has been adjusted to have the same RMS level for an easier comparison.

Detail of the ratings :

  • Dynamic :
    • Significant dynamic compression, DR less than 7
    • Compression of the present dynamic, DR between 7 and 9.
    • Correct piece DR >=10
    • No dynamic compression (DR >12), dynamic rendering
    • No dynamic compression, high DR and very dynamic sound rendering
  • Bandwidth :
    • Bandwidth cut and less than 15 khz
    • Bandwidth cut at 15 khz
    • Bandwidth not conforming to the original and cut (not HD) or original but limited bandwidth (but less than 20 kHz)
    • Bandwidth conforming to the original (but not HD)
    • Bandwidth conforming to the original with HD resolution (higher than 24kHz)
  • Surface noise (only for vinyl):
    • Continuous audible noise
    • Audible surface noise except on passages with a high level of noise
    • Reduced surface noise, barely audible on low level crossings
    • Low surface noise, very good quality
    • Very low surface noise, no defects, almost inaudible on the quiet passages (exceptional disc)
  • Restitution :
    • Low quality of the restitution mixing dynamics, clarity, separation of voices and instruments.
    • Average quality of the restitution mixing dynamics, clarity, separation of voices and instruments.
    • Quality of the restitution mixing dynamics, clarity, separation of voices and instruments. Good record.
    • High quality of the restitution mixing dynamics, clarity, separation of voices and instruments. Very high level disc.
    • Maximum quality of the restitution mixing dynamics, clarity, separation of voices and instruments. Exceptional disc.

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